Pubdate: Sun, 06 Apr 2014
Source: Missourian (MO)
Copyright: Washington Missourian 2014
Author: Josh Mitchell, Missourian Staff Writer


State Rep. Paul Curtman's attempt to get an additional $7 million
added to the state's drug court program was unsuccessful in the
Missouri House, but he plans to keep up the effort.

The Missouri House passed its version of the budget without the
additional funding that Curtman proposed.

Now the budget has gone to the Senate, where Curtman hopes he can work
with senators to put more funding into the system.

State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, plans to help Curtman work with
the Senate to get additional drug court funding added to the budget.
However, they may not be able to get the full $7 million, but any
increase will be better than nothing, Curtman, R-Pacific, said.

It costs an estimated $22,853 to incarcerate an inmate each year
compared to $6,190 per year to put a person through the treatment
court system, state documents say.

Drug courts attempt to treat the underlying substance abuse problem so
the person can live a productive life. In addition to being a more
cost-effective avenue, drug courts also reduce recidivism, Curtman

Franklin and Jefferson counties, which have both struggled with
methamphetamine, could benefit from more funding to the state drug
courts, according to Curtman.

The Missouri judiciary has asked the Legislature for $7 million in
additional funding for the treatment court system. That would more
than double the current budget.

Curtman said the additional $7 million he has proposed for drug courts
is currently going unused by the Department of Corrections. Taking
that money would not cause cuts in other areas since the funding is
not currently being used, he added.

Curtman noted that his effort to provide more drug court funding had
the support of top House officials, including the speaker and floor

The Missouri treatment court system serves about 3,500 people across
the state, according to Rick Morrisey with the Office of State Courts
Administrator. The extra funding requested could increase the amount
of people served by 1,000 to 2,000, Morrisey has said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D